Being impressed by the shapes of nature, designer Cristian Polaco decided to come up with a rather unusual concept of an eco-friendly vehicle. AERO is the result of his imagination. The car represents a three-wheeled electric vehicle that has space for two people, the driver and "co-pilot".
The green vehicle has its body made of compressed polymers that considerably reduce the weight of the car and which can be easily recycled. Each of the two front wheels of AERO has its own electric motor that is linked to the car's steering wheel via a wireless system. The onboard batteries can be recharged using the power of wind and sun, plus one can plug the car into a 120V source.
Meet Mahru-Z, a robot that was developed by South Korean researchers to help you clean your house and wash your clothes. The walking robot with a human-like body has a 3D vision and besides being able to throw clothes in a washing, it can heat the food for you in a microwave, pick up cups, and other objects it senses.
The head, arms, legs and even fingers can move and its 3D vision helps the machine identify tasks that have to be undertaken. According to Korea Times, Mahru-Z represents the latest model from Mahru robots line.
"The most distinctive strength of Mahru-Z is its visual ability to observe objects, recognise the tasks needed to be completed, and execute them," said You Bum-Jae, the lead-researchers in the cognitive robot centre at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology.
It took the Korean scientists about 2 years to create the 1.3-meter tall robot that weights 55 kilograms. The machine can be remotely controlled via a computer server.
Mahru-Z can also be used in situations that are dangerous for people. However, the robot is not going to be mass produced yet and there's currently no information on when it will hit the market.
Each year, scientists from the institute spend about $3.8 million on robot research, obtaining funds for their project form the Korean government since 2006.
A talented British artist, Jane Perkins, decided to recycle and reuse different objects, which most people would throw away, to create beautiful masterpieces. Her works include the portraits of politicians made from buttons, toys, plastic forks etc.
It would be interesting to note that the artist was inspired by hairstylists from Ecuador, who are famous for creating designs using broken jewelry, informs BBC.
Perkins has been making portraits from trash since 2008 and now she can make a work of art from virtually anything she can get her hands on. Perkin's works are anything but traditional, with the objects she uses getting a much greater value compared to when they are left unused.
With an increasing demand in eco-friendly vehicles, IHI Marine United Inc., a subsidiary of IHI Corp., a company that specializes in producing heavy machinery, decided to create a plug-in vessel powered by lithium-ion batteries.
The company's Zero Emission Electric Propulsion Ship will be able to recharge its batteries at special charging stations that will be placed in ports visited by the ship. The zero-emissions ship will replace the one that runs on diesel engine.
The 300-meter ferry will be able to carry up to 800 passengers. Its batteries will register an output about 200-300 times greater than the one required by electric cars. According to the designer, a full battery charge will be enough for the Electric Propulsion Ship to travel 180km.
The ship is expected to be on sale by 2015, just in time for low-cost lithium-ion batteries. While the current ship is designed for short distances, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. looks forward to develop a long-distance cargo ship, which will be powered by a diesel-electric hybrid system. Currently the company works on a joint research project together with scientists from Osaka University, informs Asahi.com.
The new hybrid vessel is expected to be completed in 2012. The ship will cut carbon emissions by 50 percent. Besides, its main diesel engine will also play the role of an electricity generator that will be used to recharge batteries. The produced electricity will be used to power the electric motor when the ship moves through high seas and needs greater propulsion power.
Specialists from Royal Haskoning Architects, being commissioned by Quest, a science magazine, designed an open villa that brings the idea of how it would be possible to live on the moon.
The spherical villa does not have any walls or things that would somehow separate rooms. In such a way the designers wanted to make it easier to move inside the structure.
The exterior of the construction is transparent, offering a cold view of the dark surroundings. The special display designed by architect Dennis Hauer, will not only serve as protection from the boiling heat of the sun, but will also make it possible to control the temperature inside the villa, reports ArchitectenWeb.
It is worth mentioning that designers also thought about making the villa eco-friendly, featuring a system that would transform carbon dioxide emitted by residents into oxygen using a natural cycle.
There are no stairs in the villa, which makes it easier to move, by taking advantage of low gravity on the moon. The villa is connected to an underground bunker that is meant to protect the person from sun storms.
Recently the American energy company Alpha Energy opened a huge 1 megavolt grid-connected power system in Bordentown, NJ. It is said that the system is the largest solar powered carport construction in the United States and its goal is to provide electricity to the auction facility in Bordentown.
The structure occupies an area of 13,000 square meters, featuring 5,880 solar panels of 170 watt capacity. The panels in the grid are linked through 11 separate inverters. Thus if one panel is removed, the others continue functioning properly, without disturbing power supply, informs Electric.
Each year the system will produce about 1,056,000 kilowatt hours. Such amount of energy could be used to power 114 US homes. The yearly reduction of carbon emissions will reach 862 tons, which is the average amount of CO2 emitted by 158 cars.
Working singles almost have no time to have a balanced diet, which is why two graduate students from MIT's Fluid Interfaces Group decided to come up with a rather interesting and yet unusual idea.
Marcelo Coelho and Amit Zoran designed a personal food factory and named it "Cornucopia." Their device is a 3D food printer that allows printing own food.
According to the designers, the whole cooking process of Cornucopia begins with a series of food canisters that refrigerate and lay up the ingredients that the user selects, informs fluid interfaces group. The ingredients "are piped into a mixer and extruder head that can accurately deposit elaborate combinations of food."
During deposition, the device's heating or cooling tubes, mounted on the printing head, cool or heat up the food. Here's what the authors of the invention say: "This fabrication process allows the user to have ultimate control over the origin, quality, nutritional value and taste of every meal."
This city is called the Boston Archology (BOA) and its design is credited to E.Kevin Schopfer, AIA, RIBA. The structure is meant to provide secure and dry living space that would have enough living space for about 15,000 people.
But the most important fact about this floating structure is that it will help people when climate change will make ocean levels rise, which would erase a lot cities from the map. Inside there will be hotels, offices, museums, a city hall and more.
Every 30 floors there will be sky gardens that will offer sunlight units and provide a feeling of neighborhood presence. At the same time the gardens will serve as a symbol of the structure's eco-friendliness.
BOA is a self-sustainable structure, featuring secured wind turbines, harbor based water turbines and a large number of different environmental-friendly systems including: clean water recovery, passive glazing, sky garden heating/cooling, gray water treatment installations and photovoltaic systems.
Scientist from the College of Wooster managed to come up with a special glass that can swell like a sponge. The glass could be used to clean contaminated sources of water. The invention can bind with different pollutants like gasoline, but it does not bind with water. It can collect toxins from polluted groundwater.
The material, named Obsorb, can truly become one of the most useful inventions that contribute to the environment. The invention is currently being developed by a firm called Absorbent Materials.
Besides being able to clean the groundwater from contaminants, the latest invention from Absorbent Materials offers a rather inexpensive method of cleaning. It is worth mentioning that the pollutant that is difficult to remove is chlorinated solvent trichloroethene (TCE). In case nanoparticles of iron are added to the glass, it would be possible to transform TCE or PCE into a safe substance.
After collecting enough pollutants, the Obsorb is skimmed off while it floats on the surface. Then the glass is cleaned and can be reused. The process can be repeated hundreds of times, informs CleanTechnica.
According to a new study carried out by a group of researchers from University of South Florida, the radiation from cell phones can reverse Alzheimer's-like symptoms. It is worth mentioning that the team, led by Juan Sanchez-Ramos, made its research on genetically tweaked mice.
Currently it is unknown how exactly does the radiation protect against Alzheimer's. Scientists offer several explanations. They suggest that microwaves produce cellular stress in the brain. This stress engages DNA repair mechanisms inside the brain.
At the same time Juan Sanchez-Ramos, the co-author of the research, warned that the study did not represent "a perfect replication of cell phone use in humans." In addition, the scientist mentioned that the results of the study do not mean that the radiation from cell phones would have the same effect on humans. This is due to the fact that Alzheimer's disease develops differently in humans, said George Perry, an Alzheimer's specialist from the University of Texas, San Antonio, who did not take part in the study.
More information regarding the experiment can be found here.
Perry also mentioned that the results of the current study could also mean that radiation from cell phones might be harmful for health. At the moment, however, scientists are still debating about the influence of radiation from cell phones on human brain, with some considering that cell phone use could lead to the development of brain cancer.
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that is currently taking place in Las Vegas, the spokesman for RCA said that one of the company's most useful inventions, called Airenergy, is able to produce electricity from WiFi signals like those from a wireless Internet connection.
The device could be used to recharge cell phones. According to the company's spokesman, theywere able to recharge a Blackberry from 30 percent to full battery charge in about 90 minutes by making use of the WiFi signals.
It is worth mentioning that the recharging time of the Airenergy depends on the closeness to the WiFi signal, as well as on the number of WiFi sources nearby.
The lithium battery incorporated into the device turns the WiFi antenna signal into DC power to fill, which means that Airenergy automatically recharges itself if it is in the Wi-Fi area. To recharge a cell phone, one needs to plug the Airenergy battery into the device using USB connection, informs OhGizmo.
RCA's device could become one of the most useful inventions for people living in modern megapolises, where there are many WiFi signal hotspots. However, those living or working in rural areas are less likely to benefit from the gadget.
Researchers from New York University has come up with an idea to create a firm called Touchco and develop flexible multi-touch screens that react to different objects, fingers and hands. According to the team, headed by Ken Perlin and Ilya Rosenberg from the Media Research Laboratory, their latest invention could be used for various applications, including e-readers and even musical instruments.
The IFSR (interpolating force-sensitive resistance) technology features resistors that respond to the pressure a person applies to the touch sensitive material. Mixed with scanning technology, the latest invention from Techco in theory can offer infinite simultaneous touch inputs. In addition, the technology consumes little power and is quite inexpensive. The material is expected to hit the market at a price of just $10 per square foot. It would be interesting to note that a touch pad is just 0.25 mm thick.
According to Perlin, the company's latest invention is likely to be used in the next generation of e-readers that will hit the market later this year. Besides, Techco looks forward to have its technology used in laptops and musical instruments.
The team has also been working together with Disney. The project that the two companies have been working on involves the creation of a digital sketchbook that would make use of pressure sensors. The latter would be able to differentiate the touch of a hand, brush or pencil. To see more applications of the technology and see how it works, make sure to watch the video below.
An interesting eco-friendly idea was proposed by designer Stephen Chan Wing Tak. He is the author of the Eco-Enegry Flooring System pads that feature a paper battery system used to collect energy that is generated when people walk and run over the piezoelectric blocks.
To put it simple: the system is composed of blocks that are mounted on the floor and when someone steps on these blocks, energy is produced. Afterwards the collected power is used to light up LEDs.
Each pad is made of six layers, with the upper one being water resistant and covered with ultrasonic welding to make it humidity-proof. The next layer features an OLED board that can have all sorts of symbols, letters, numbers that can light up. Then there's a sponge material that dispenses the force and pressure.
The follow-up level includes the piezoelectric board featuring crystal boards to produce power. Below there's the paper battery and the last layer is the one that touches the ground. The system is easy to transport and use. There's no information about the cost of the system but if it's cost-friendly then we might as well call this invention perfect.
The American Heart Association published in its journal Circulation a study that says that watching television or sitting for a long time in front of a PC can considerably increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
According to the study, which involved the participation of 7,000 Australians, watching TV increases the risk of heart attack by 80 percent. Researchers analyzed the study participants based on the amount of time they watched television, informs TG Daily. They observed them for 6 years and discovered that every hour a person spent in front of the TV increased the risk of heart attack by 18 percent.
The numbers presented in the study do not include other elements that could lead to heart disease, such as obesity andsmoking. The study also showed that watching TV increases the risk of cancer development by 9 percent.
Although there's still enough time till the end of the decade, the American Dialect Society thought it is time to state the word of the decade, which is "google."
The word does not represent the name of the company, but a verb that means to search something over the Internet using your favorite search engine.
The announcement was made on a special meeting that was held last week. It would be interesting to note that philologists from Baltimore announced "tweet" the word of the year in 2009, reports Mashable.
According to Grant Barrett, who presides over the New Words Committee, both "tweet" and "google" are the terms that represent the Information Age. One of the competitors to "google" was the word "blog," but ADS specialists said: "Many people think 'blog' just sounds ugly."
According to calculations made by the UN, if the population will continue increasing at current rate, Earth could have about 9.2 billion people by 2050. This could lead to food and fresh water crisis. But before we reach 2050, it is would be worth mentioning that today about 3,000 people die each day because they don't have access to drinking water. This is the reason why several designers are searching for ways to solve the problem.
One of the solutions that could somewhat help solve the problem linked with lack of fresh water was offered by designers from Vincent Callebaut Architects. They came up with the idea of designing a floating garden called Physalia, being inspired by pneumatophorous called the "Physalia physalis," ("water bubble"). The amphibious garden is completely self-sufficient and according to the designers, it will navigate several European rivers, including Danube, Volga, Rhine, Guadalquivir, Euphrates and Tiger.
The structure is meant to collect more energy than it consumes. It includes a double pneumatic membrane that has smooth photovoltaic solar cells. Underneath the casing, Physalia has hydro-turbines that turn the energy of the fluvial stream into hydroelectricity. The floating garden has its surface made of aluminum-covered steel, which is also covered with TiO2 that responds to ultraviolet rays to purify water.
Physalia can also soak up the chemicals along with carbonated waste eliminated by boats and industrial plants. The main entrance into the structure is the Water Garden. There is also an Earth Garden that is designed for international scientists who study the aquatic ecosystem traversed by Physalia. The floating garden has two more spaces, called Fire Garden and Air Garden. The former is a small and shielding underwater lounge, while the latter represents a space of oxygen and light that extends under a pneumatophorous lens. More images and additional information can be found here.
The mirror presented here is anything but ordinary, being able to illustrate the amount of water a person uses throughout the day, month and year. The rims of the mirror are enriched with LED colored lights. These LEDs show the amount of water that runs through the sink. The mirror was designed by Jin Kim.
With this device you can monitor your water consumption. You can also set the amount of water you wish to use during the day, month or year and the device will automatically turn the water off as soon as the level of water consumed exceeds the pre-set level.
The circle mirror does not only show the overall amount of water used, but the consumption level of cool and warm water as well. It also features different icons illustrating helpless children and representatives of the animal world with numbers depicting their struggles. These icons are shown at the 4 poles of the glass.
A series of spiraling skyscrapers has been designed by design team Chimera. The model of a spiraling skyscraper was inspired from the complex ecosystems formed by the mangrove tree.
The city of spiraling skyscrapers is called Mangal City and the main idea is to show the possible architectural future of London. Mangal City represents an urban ecological system. It is made of modular pod capsules that move according to environmental circumstances, informs SuckerPunchDaily.
The Mangal City makes use of biomimetic principles that were borrowed from different sources. As it was mentioned, the mangrove trees served as the source of inspiration for the structure of the building. It would be interesting to note that the mangrove tree grows in saline coastal habitats that can be found in the tropics and subtropics.
The first invention of Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies that attracted a lot of attention was the company's hydrogen-powered toy car, which was launched in 2006. Now the company came up with something that can truly become revolutionary. Its latest invention is the world's first portable desktop hydrogen generator, which has recently been presented at CES.
Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies named its latest invention HYDROFILL. The company's new gadget can collect power from a power supply, solar panel or a wind turbine. Thus it will be able to extract hydrogen from its water tank in automatic mode.
The hydrogen that was produced takes a solid form and is afterwards stored in small refillable cartridges that include metallic alloys that soak up hydrogen into their crystalline structure. After being acquired, the hydrogen is discharged at low pressure.
Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies believes that its latest invention represents the first step towards the development of a technology that would allow refueling fuel cell electric vehicles.
This concept was developed by designer Gabor Baranyai, who was inspired by the minimalist box theme of Apple. His creation is dubbed "Apple Car" and the designer envisions the use of the device in large industrial buildings like exhibition centers and airports.
Apple Car has a series of small wheels that look like the ones on UX-3 from Honda. The doors of the vehicle slide upwards, providing a rather easy access to the spacious cabin. The Apple Car can be controlled using the iPhone, which plays the role of a remote.
The driver can park the vehicle sideways. Using the iPhone, the driver can also turn the car around in one place. The iPhone can be used as a navigation tool as well, locking safely onto a special dock. All information on navigation the driver receives on the windshield, which offers a larger view.
Baranyai designed LED headlights and placed them behind the windshield. The headlights can be easily rearranged or even substituted with traditional shapes. The batteries incorporated in the floor can be charged using plug-in charging, informs The Design Blog.
Inside the base model, the driver can install various aftermarket accessories, including mats, solar cells and different decor attachments. The large outer surfaces of the Apple Car allow placing different ads.